Say No to Police Repression of NATO/G8 Protests - Full text

This letter was written in response to the threats made against anti-NATO and G8 protestors by the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department in the Chicago Sun Times, Friday, July 15th.

The Sun Times article was written in response to the call made for protests on May 15 and 19, 2012, by the United National Anti-War Committee (UNAC)

The call opposes endless wars and demands billions for jobs, health care, housing and education instead of war.

The authors of the letter are planning a press conference to present the letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The letter demands: permits to rally and march to the site of the NATO/G8 summit; a guarantee of civil liberties for all protestors; and a guarantee that the city will not cooperate with the FBI and other agencies spying on, infiltrating and attacking the movement against war and government attacks on working people.

Initial signatories

  • Chris Geovanis - Hammerhard Media Works
  • Pat Hunt - Chicago Area Code Pink, Chicago Area Peace Action
  • Joe Iosbaker - Committee to Stop FBI Repression, UNAC Chicago spokesperson
  • Alejandro Molina - National Boricua Human Rights Network
  • Andy Thayer - Gay Liberation Network and Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism

Initial endorsers in Chicago

  • SEIU Local 73 Executive Board
  • Christine Boardman, President - SEIU Local 73
  • Matt Brandon, Secretary Treasurer - SEIU Local 73
  • Committee Against Political Repression
  • Newland Smith - Episcopal Peace Fellowship
  • Stan Smith - Latin American Solidarity Committee
  • Dale Lehman - Neighbors for Peace
  • Fred Meclenburg - News & Letters
  • Bill Chambers, John McHale, Maureen Murphy* - Palestine Solidarity Group
  • Kait McIntyre - Students for a Democratic Society
  • Eldon Grossman - Veterans for Peace
  • Ali Akbari
  • Richard Berg
  • J Burger
  • Curly Cohen
  • Jean Engelkemeir
  • Michael Sacco
  • Sarah Smith*
  • Stephanie Weiner*
  • Nicaragua Solidarity Committee Chicago
  • Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights
  • Chicago Media Action

*raided by FBI and/or subpoenaed by grand jury

Initial endorsers nationally

  • United National Antiwar Committee (UNAC)
  • Sara Flounders - International Action Center
  • Chris Gauvreau - Connecticut United for Peace
  • Marilyn Levin - New England United
  • Joe Lombardo - Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace
  • Jeff Mackler - Mobilization for Peace, Jobs & Justice, San Francisco
  • Pete Shell - Thomas Merton Center
  • Ashley Smith – International Socialist Organization
  • Teamster Defense Guard
  • Minnesota Anti-War Committee
  • Minnesota Peace Action Coalition
  • Defending Dissent Foundation
  • Triangle Committee to Stop FBI Repression
  • Thomas Merton Center Antiwar Committee
  • Troy Area Labor Council
  • First Amendment Network

Office of the Mayor
City of Chicago
To: Mayor Rahm Emanuel

We, the undersigned, demand that your administration grant us permits for protests on May 15 and 19, 2012, including appropriate rally gathering locations and march routes to the venue for the NATO/G8 summit taking place that week. We come to you because your administration has already spoken to us through Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. He has threatened mass arrests and violence against protestors.

We ask that your administration respect our civil liberties – our right to protest. According to Superintendent McCarthy, the priority of the Chicago Police Department, US State Department, US Secret Service and other federal agencies is the protection of NATO and G8 officials. Your priority should be to protect the rights of the people to speak against war, and for jobs, healthcare, education and housing.

The Department of Justice, the FBI and other federal agencies have been guilty of numerous abuses over the years, including in Chicago. They have raided homes, launched investigations, and infiltrated organizations. They have targeted anti-war, international solidarity and immigrant rights activists, as well as the Puerto Rican and Palestinian national movements.

Already, City Hall has had discussions with the National Restaurant Association to move the restaurant convention from McCormick Place in order to hold the NATO/G8 summit in Chicago at the same time. If the restaurant show is moved to another city, Chicago will lose millions of dollars in revenue for small businesses and in tax dollars for city coffers. Layoff notifications were sent this week to 625 city employees to close a $30 million budget hole, and yet the City of Chicago is pushing to give up the restaurant show to privilege the NATO/G8 meetings.

We've struggled for a decade in Chicago to remind police brass that we have a constitutional right to publicly voice our opposition to government policies. It's disheartening to see the City's new police chief essentially parrot the distortions that previous chiefs have trotted out locally for many years now. Chief McCarthy also played a role in the police response to 2004 RNC protests in New York City, which have been widely criticized for their violence and wholesale repression of civil liberties and constitutional rights. It’s both discouraging and unacceptable to see him publicly intimating that he plans to replicate those deplorable tactics here for the G8/NATO meeting and public response.

For the 10s of thousands of people from Chicago, around the country and across the world who will gather here to protest against NATO and the G8, we demand that the City of Chicago:

  1. Grant us permits to rally and march to the NATO/G8 summit
  2. Guarantee our civil liberties
  3. Guarantee us there will be no spying, infiltration of organizations or other attacks by the FBI or partner law enforcement agencies.

Sign the letter now!